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Sat, 29 Feb 2020
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Earth Changes


Three Gray's beaked whales die after becoming beached on Great Barrier Island, New Zealand

Three Gray's beaked whales beached and died on Great Barrier Island despite rescue efforts.
© Sarah Dwyer
Three Gray's beaked whales beached and died on Great Barrier Island despite rescue efforts.
Three Gray's beaked whales have died despite the Department of Conservation's (DOC's), efforts to save them.

One adult whale and two juveniles were found cast at Whangaparapara on Great Barrier Island on Monday evening, DOC confirmed.

Unfortunately, one of the whales was already dead but DOC managed to successfully refloat the other two.

Over the next two days the other two whales were found dead onshore, DOC operations manager George Taylor said.

Cloud Precipitation

Deadly winter storm, flooding hits south east USA

Harlan Kentucky

Harlan, Kentucky
At least 5 people have died and hundreds have evacuated their homes after a powerful winter storm swept through southeastern USA from 04 February, 2020.

High winds and heavy rains have caused widespread damage. More than 110,000 homes were without power.

Severe flash flooding has been reported in parts of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky. Tornado watches have been issued for areas from Florida to North Carolina.

Three people have died in weather-related crashes. Vehicles skidded off flooded roads causing fatalities in Knoxville in Tennessee, Gaston County in North Carolina, and Fort Mill in South Carolina

One person died and another was injured after strong winds destroyed two mobile homes near Demopolis, Alabama. Another fatality was reported near Sevierville, Tennessee, when a tree fell on a vehicle.


Netherlands' animal populations have halved since 1990 - Nitrogen the main culprit

Northern wheatear
© imagebrokermicrostock/DepositPhotos
Northern wheatear
Wild animal populations in both the Netherlands' open natural areas and in the agricultural landscaped halved since 1990, according to the Living Planet Report Netherlands published by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on Thursday. According to the report, the high nitrogen precipitation - largely caused by livestock farming - is the main culprit behind the decline, NU.nl reports.

Due to too high nitrogen precipitation, special plant species that are important for butterflies and insects are overgrown by fast-growing grasses that like nitrogen. The insects that live off these plants disappear, which in turn has a negative influence on insect-eating animals, like birds and reptiles. The black grouse, northern wheatear and tree lark are among the bird species currently threatened in the Netherlands. The tawny pipit has completely disappeared.

The animal populations in the heathland saw the biggest decline over the past three decades. In certain heath areas, the size of the animal populations decreased by 70 percent. Animals in the agricultural areas halved due to intensive agriculture, desiccation, and the use of pesticides.

Cloud Precipitation

Australia's Byron Bay floods after receiving heaviest rainfall in almost half a century

Byron Bay floods
© News Regional Media
Byron Bay Football Club social media show their grounds are flooded due to the recent rains.
The scenic northern NSW town of Byron Bay has been hit with flooding after receiving almost 300mm of rain overnight.

Up to 275mm of rain has fallen in the Cape Byron rain gauges in the past 24 hours, according to the Bureau of Meteorology NSW.

The nearby town of Ballina also copped 175.6mm over the same period, and Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast has received 122.6mm, causing flooding on parts of the Pacific Highway in that area. The heavy rain today also reached Sydney, causing flash flooding in the city as 70mm fell on the CBD overnight.

The rainfall is reportedly the heaviest the town of Byron Bay has received in almost 50 years.

The main streets of Byron were hit with flash flooding, with locals and tourists sharing videos of water up to their ankles and mid calves.


Big White ski resort in British Columbia breaks snowfall record

Big White Ski Resort is having a record-breaking season.
© Big White Ski Resort
Big White Ski Resort is having a record-breaking season.
As of this morning, the resort has recorded a cumulative snowfall of 615 cm and it's still snowing.

Well that didn't take long.

Big White Ski Resort received 25 cm of snow in the last 24 hours, helping the resort break its all-time snowfall record by five centimetres set in 2015.

As of this morning (Feb. 6), the resort has recorded a cumulative snowfall of 615 cm and it's still snowing.

With so much snow the resort has already announced it will remain open until the third week of April, which is about a week longer than usual.


The vanishing of natural wilderness sounds

Arrigetch Peaks, Alaska
© Floris Van Breugel
Arrigetch Peaks, Alaska
A photographer and audio researchers document the soundscapes of remote national parks in Alaska.

We often see images depicting wilderness landscapes, but what do those places sound like? Among the hours and days of remote sound recordings they've collected in Alaska's Arrigetch Basin, researchers Davyd Betchkal and Dan Walsh with the National Park Service have uncovered gems like this duet between a golden-crowned sparrow and an American robin.

Snowflake Cold

San Diego airport just tied a cold record from 1894

San Diego

At least
FOUR San Diego County National Weather Service (NWS) stations reported record-breaking temps Wednesday morning, as brutal Arctic air continues to ravage the Western half of the CONUS.

The frigid air mass currently tearing up record books across the Western U.S. took names in San Diego overnight Tuesday. Record lows were busted across the majority of the county as the mercury dipped into the 20s (and below).

Yenny on Twitter put it best:

I've taken the time to list a few of the new "cold af" records below (data courtesy of the NWS):
  • Ramona's low temperature of 19F (-7.2C) busted the previous record of 23F set in 2002.
  • El Cajon's and Vista's lows of 30F (-1.1C) beat records of 31F and 32F, respectively, set in 1985.
  • While the San Diego International Airport tied its record of 38F (3.3C) set way back in 1894!
A number of freeze warnings will remain in place for the county through Thursday.


6.0-magnitude earthquake hits off coast of Mindanao, Philippines

Earthquake seismograph
The island nation is located in a seismically active zone known as the Ring of Fire, which regularly endures both powerful and minor earthquakes.

A strong 6.0-magnitude tremor has struck 205 kilometres southeast of Davao, a city on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre reported.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of 10 kilometres at 13:40 UTC. No casualties or damage have been reported so far.​ There has been no tsunami alert issued with regard to the seismic activity.

The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology measured the quake at 6.1 magnitude. It registered a series of six aftershocks measuring 4.6 magnitude and lower. The national agency said no damage was expected.

In December, at least seven people were killed as a result of a magnitude 6.8 tremor that hit the southern island.

Cloud Precipitation

Flash flood after heavy rain kills at least 3 in Papua New Guinea

flash flood
Three bodies have been recovered while the search continues for others who went missing after floodwaters swept through a village in Western Highlands on Monday afternoon.

Villagers of Marapana in the Mul-Baiyer district living along the Kuma River were caught off-guard when it broke its banks after heavy rain.

Village leaders Angra Pulga, Andrew Wan and Doimbri Dum, and village magistrate Wani Rumints described it as "unusual" and "unbelievable" because the river was relatively small, compared to the Jiwaka River and Waghi River.

One of the three bodies found was of Bum Piam, an old man from the Nenga tribe of Hagen village who was inside his home when it was swept away.


76-year-old man who used wheelchair killed by pack of dogs in Attala County, Mississippi

dog attack

An Attala County community shocked tonight after a 76-year-old disabled man is mauled to death by four dogs. It happened Thursday on Highway 14 West at a home in the Palestine community.

Sheriff Tim Nail identifies the victim as Harvey Harmon, Jr.

"It hard to imagine you live for 76 years and in an instance like that you die from a dog attack that. I am sure was very horrifying," said Sheriff Tim Nail.

According to the sheriff, two pit bulls and two mixed breed strays mauled Harvey Harmon, Jr. January 30th on Highway 14 in his front yard. When deputies arrived, the wheelchair bound man found on the ground, dead. The motive for the killing is still a mystery.